That you don't need? We're not talking "shock-television" worthy, unexplainable, horrific piles of stuff. But...things you have hung onto to the point you forget why? Yup. This is one of "those" questions I could sit up all night thinking about.
This is kinda in a "Who Moved My Cheese?" kind of way. So, read from that perspective, and really try it on for size. If you're like me, you may get a little pang in your heart over it...like WHY DIDN'T I MOVE ON THIS SOONER???
The weather: Has been GORGEOUS. Windows flung open for the entire neighborhood to know exactly HOW loud we really are and exactly HOW MANY times my son gets asked if he has to go pee-pee onna potty. The breeze is PERFECT to stir up the dead energy in the house and seduce me into spring cleaning. I seriously have no control over it, but the dining table thanks me because I've de-crumbed the little crack between the leaves which was embarrassing to see, to say the least. The quilting machine thanks me too, because all the containers have fallen into step underneath like they're supposed to be there, and less like a trash dump. The "Man Room" looks pretty snazzy today too...the cat's a little pissed that I cleaned up the sweater he was laying down on top of the couch. Now he's gotta start all over.
There's been several nice days, but the cleaning thing has been going on for only a couple. Hey, you can only bask on the porch so many days in a row before you decide you're going to do something productive, right? All of this started by accident one day, where I noticed there was WAAAAAAY more strings and snips of fabric in the sewing room than I was comfortable with. Some of them kinda looked like little spiders, and that was enough for me. As I was vacuuming though...I realized that some of the fuzz had migrated to the hallway....and into the kids rooms. Could be the littles picked up some fabric "friends" on purpose, could be they just hitched a ride on a shuffle-y sock foot. But...ew. The snips were migrating.
How did I not know? How did I not see this?
So, I vacuumed. And on the way through the kids rooms, we put back wooden puzzle pieces that had just been kicked into a heap, instead of being put back where they go. The puzzles are probably "on their way out" because no one really plays with them, they just get dumped out. And then I sigh in dismay because there's a pile of puzzle pieces dumped out. Kinda like the foam letter mat that used to be in the Man Room.
The Man of said Man Room wanted to get rid of the letter mat at least a year ago. Me, I didn't. I have no idea why now because all the kids did with THAT was tear apart the blocks, pop the letters out, and we'd have a zillion pieces of ....crap....strewn all over the house. Yet...I couldn't let it go. Why? There was no JOY associated with the letter mat. Only work. And strife. And bad feelings. Crumbs collected under the mat and dirt from the outside and static made pet hairs cling to it. Ew. WHY??? Why did I wanna keep it? I'm still working on that...but so far, I think it has something to do with having a dream for the kids and the letter mat. But, if we want to apply the "Cheese" method, it's an analogy for other things in life.
(**Insert topic here)
We all have hopes and dreams and ideas, right? We create our universe *just* the way we like it, right? Well, yes in theory we do. Truthfully we ALWAYS create our situation, we just might not like it all the time. What if you don't know "how you like it"? What if you just start doing things in hopes of creating your Happiness Empire, without a plan? I will tell you...you end up with extraneous stuff. Sometimes your "stuff" is meant to be temporary, and then move on. Sometimes your "stuff" is supposed to be around long-term. Sometimes what you've called "your stuff" was never meant to live with you in the first place. For ME...the problem lies in trying to re-configure to include what is probably exterraneous stuff in the new vision.
I wanted the letter mat to BE something it wasn't. And every time it WASN'T (ie turned into foam letter mayhem) I got more and more irritated. What I wanted it to *be* I dunno...I'm not so sure that it really mattered...but I knew that I didn't want what it WAS. Wash, rinse, repeat until the day I de-crumbed each piece for the last time and "lovingly" stacked all the pieces in a trash bag. It can be WHATEVER to whoever else. DONE.
So, this week I (spring) cleaned The Man Room for the first time without the letter mat, and the room WAS. It was tidy and organized and clean and happy. Afterward, I sat in a comfy chair in there and knitted, while Madi dumped all her Polly Pockets and attire on the rug and played. Perhaps THIS was what I wanted the mat to be. An inviting square for the kids to play. A comfy area where random preschooler ideas spring forth, unfiltered and unedited. The space was doing what it needed to before, we just didn't have the right equipment! I should note here that the offensive letter mat was replaced by a $12 area rug from the clearance section at Target. What a bargain! Better than a latte, cheaper than counseling!
Where were we...? Cheese. Yes, the cheese. The letter mat was probably desirable at one time, even though I loathed it longer than I probably liked it. At some point it became the status quo though. Like there was no consideration of getting rid of it because it was HERE...because it was OURS...something...I've still gotta figure it out. This is the part that keeps me up at night, wondering: WHY? Why did it become a fixed object in our lives? Why were there not other options? Do I do this HABITUALLY? Do I not consider a different way of doing things because "THIS" is what we do?
Why do I hang onto fabric that I don't like, bought on impulse, on sale, had no plan for, and really can't see myself using in the future? I know why I bought it....the habit of ONLY going for things that were on sale (at the time). I couldn't see it then, but I know NOW why it was on sale THEN.
(anybody need two yards of tropical parrot fabric? tee hee!)
Why do I hang onto that jar of roasted red peppers that I've re-bought for the third time, only to find out this is the SAME brand that I bought at least two other times and realize I hate them?
Why do I hang onto uni-tasker kitchen equipment that is consuming too much space in the pantry?
Why do I hang onto toxic friends?
Why do I keep my fat pants? Why do I keep my used-to-fit-but-now-too-small pants?
Why do I keep "that nailpolish" that's just a teeny bit too goopy?
...the fridge magnets that hold a single sheet of paper, but give up with two?
...the box of books from college, stored in the garage?
The questions could go on and on. Really. It's usually at this point when I start asking myself the questions that I just tuck the "Why"'s back in their box to almost deal with them another day. So, I'll make a concerted effort and keep you updated. :D